Gardening, Grow Your Own, Guest Posts, How To, Planting

seeding plants indoors

Gardeners dream of lush green plants bearing wonderfully coloured and textured fruits and vegetables. But the reality is different. Some plants need more sun, while others require some shade. Plants have varied needs in soil nutrients, the amount of water required, as well as maturation rate.

The best way to get the perfect garden started is to learn how to start seeding your plants indoors. Gardeners may begin different types of plants, instead of being limited to the basic squash, tomatoes, and peppers. Seeding plants indoors brings earlier and more bountiful harvests.

It is understandable gardeners want to seed many varieties of plants. The best advice is to keep it simple. Seed only a few varieties of fruits and vegetables. Ensure they are labeled clearly for later planting.

How to Start Seeding Your Plants Indoors

Begin the seed adventure with light. Gardeners will need a south-facing window or bank of windows with strong light. For gardeners without south-facing windows, investing in a grow light and a timer works. Plants without strong light for a set amount of time don’t grow strong in addition to their produce being weak.

TIP: The grow light should be three to four inches above the plants. Fluorescent lights work best, because they shed light but remain cool. Regular bulbs will burn the plants. Hang light fixtures where they can be adjusted as the plants grow.

seeds in grow light

Next, gardeners will need containers. Anything will do, as long as the container has drainage holes. Many people remember their children coming home from school with plants begun in paper cups, cut off plastic Coca-Cola bottles, cardboard milk cartons, or yogurt containers. Whatever the gardener chooses should have drainage holes and be about two to three inches deep.

TIP: Many seed starting kits offer containers that can be planted, so they grow into the soil. They also offer trays and clear tops for humidity.

The next and probably most important item in how to start seeding your plants indoors is the planting medium. Seeds don’t need regular soil until they’ve been truly and strongly begun. Peat mix is sold in most department stores as well as in gardening centers beginning in the early spring.

Peat is light and spongy. The thread-like plant roots easily push through and around the peat. Peat also holds just the right amount of water. The seeds have the capability for growth, so they won’t need fertiliser in the seeding stage.

TIP: Before planting the seeds, put the peat mix into a bucket. Wet it down until it crumbles. It shouldn’t be sopping wet, just moist.

Timing is the next thing a gardener needs to know. Check on the seed packet for planting times. For hints on how to start seeding your plants indoors, the packets will advise gardeners to start seeding six to eight weeks before the last frost. Keep an eye on the almanac for the last frost, usually in early to mid May.

TIP: Plants such as beans and some flowers grow too quickly to be begun indoors. Check the seed packet for the words “direct sow.” This tells gardeners the seeds should be begun outdoors.

flower seeds

Ready to Plant Your Seeds?

1. Fill clean containers up to just beneath the rim with peat mix from the bucket that was watered. Make sure the mix is crumbly to facilitate oxygen flow.

HACK: Sterilize the containers with one part bleach to ten parts water. The tiniest contamination can kill seedlings.

2. Plant seeds according to seed packet instructions. Push into the peat mix with a finger or the top of an ink pen or the eraser end of a pencil. Two finger-pushes in the container will hold seeds. Small seeds can even be sprinkled atop the soil.

HACK: The largest seeds sprout first.

planted seeds

3. Cover the tray with plastic. Poke holes in the plastic for ventilation. The cover keeps moisture in, which the seeds need to live. When the first green sprouts appear above the peat mix, the plastic can be removed.

HACK: Plastic lids from store-bought birthday cakes make excellent covers.

4. It’s time to water the seedlings. Watch the pressure with which they are watered. A strong flow, such as from a pitcher, will kill the seedlings. A soft flow, like a mist, isn’t enough. Some experts recommend a turkey baster for the right pressure. Gardeners could also try a child’s squirt gun.

HACK: When the plants sprout, remove the plastic cover to water the plants from the bottom. Watering from the top introduces germs or bacteria into the plants which could kill them or damage their produce.

5. Place seedlings near a heat source, not directly upon it. When the first green sprouts show, remove the tray from the heat source. Keep it in a warm area with temperatures between 68 and 75 degrees. Plant when the last frost is past.

Sarah BradleySarah has loved gardening and nature since childhood. She loves to read about new plants and gardening tips. She works for YourGreenPal which helps you to quickly find, schedule and pay for Lawn Care Services.

Decoration, Garden Design, Gardening Year, Grow Your Own, Guest Posts, Lighting, Make over

Spring is a time of new beginnings and your garden is a great place to be, as long as you pay it a little attention of course. From hanging fairy lights to planting seasonal blooms, you can transform your garden with some creativity and effort. Yes, you’ll get a little dirty, but as long as you know how to get grass stains out that shouldn’t put you off working on the garden with enthusiasm. Now, let’s check out four ideas to spice up your garden this spring.

spice up spring garden

1. Fill your garden with flowering shrubs

Without a doubt, the best way to transform your garden from nice but plain to beautiful and spectacular is to fill it with colourful blooms. Not only will you get to enjoy an array of colours and tones that’ll really transform your outdoor space, you’ll get to benefit from sweet scents too. Evergreen shrubs, colourful pansies, pretty snowdrops, lilacs, crocuses, daffodils… all these flowers and more love the spring and you will love the way they make your garden look. Just make sure you research how to plant and care for your chosen shrubs and you might just get to enjoy them over and over again.

2. Grow your own veg

Developing stunning borders full of seasonal blooms will no doubt look and smell amazing, but what about using your garden for more practical needs? Growing your own vegetables is a very satisfying project and you’ll get to enjoy all of that hard work by eating it! Choose an area in your garden that you can section off, raise if need be and sow produce that flourish in spring. Certain vegetables love growing in the spring, and following advice about what to plant in April and May should see your vegetable patch thrive:

  • April: Potatoes, beetroot, carrot, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, spinach, leeks and cauliflower.
  • May: Sweetcorn, courgettes, pumpkins, runner beans, cucumbers and squashes.

spring garden

3. Light it up

Just as lighting can alter the look and feel of any room in your home, it can spice up your garden too. A few strategic wall lights, a string of fairy lights or some garlands hung on a tree will help bring focus to different areas and allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labour when the sun goes down. Speaking of the sun, solar lighting is a really good solution – cost effective and environmentally friendlier too.

4. Sit and relax

A new piece of furniture plays two roles when it comes to re-styling your garden. One is to act as a feature and two is to create an area where you can kick back and relax. Whether it’s a comfy outdoor sofa to chill out on, a hammock to laze away sunny afternoons or a love seat to enjoy with your partner, they’ll give you the chance to enjoy what you’ve accomplished in comfort.

Put these four tips into action to freshen up your garden this spring and enjoy!

Eleanor CainesEleanor is a freelance writer. She loves to write about everything from gardening to travels. Her favourite part of her outside space is the fairy garden she created with her daughter.

Barbecues, Garden Furniture, Guest Posts, How To

A beautiful garden is something every outdoor lover should have. And while spring is approaching, it is the perfect time to start getting your garden ready for entertaining. If you want to enjoy your garden comfortably and be a host your guests will remember, check out these tips.

entertaining in garden

1. What Is the Occasion?

Are you planning an intimate dinner with your closest friends and family, or perhaps you are inviting your coworkers to discuss business strategies on a Sunday afternoon?

The occasion determines the type of guests that are coming, and you should make plans according to them; after all, you want to impress and entertain them. Once you think about the occasion and the people that are arriving, you can move on to other things.

2. Determine the Style

Before you decide on seating and decor, you should probably determine the style of your garden even if you never set one before. Rozzane & Friends suggest the following styles: Japanese, modern, Mediterranean, eco-friendly and so forth. This choice can be based on your personal style, occasion and budget. Regardless what your choice is, make sure that you can arrange everything, and if this is your first time doing it, perhaps going with something simple is the best choice.

4. Seating

Now that you took care of the “abstract” things it’s time to become practical and decide on accommodation; after all, your guests will probably want to sit somewhere, especially after they have a couple of drinks. Homify suggests a patio because it usually comes with a table, four to six chairs (depending on your choice) and a parasol.

Furthermore, make sure that the seating is aligned with the style (if you decided on one). If you do not have a particular style in mind, then make sure that everything fits in the overall environment of the garden.

garden decor

5. Decor

Your guests have the food, the drinks and are in their seats; now you want to focus on the atmosphere. Believe it or not, a single rock can change the way you perceive a place, so you can start decorating by adding some stones in your garden.

Again you have to think about the style. Do you want to create a calm or rustic atmosphere? Will your garden be a place of peace (which gardens usually are) or you want to breathe more life into it by adding colourful figurines or decorative lights? If it is a party, you should try to create a cheerful and friendly atmosphere.

6. Music

Speaking of atmosphere, you will probably want music. As Martha Stewart said, “music can make or break the party.” You do not have to complicate things too much, but you can if you know what you are doing.

Perhaps opting for live music is preferable if you are trying to impress someone. Then again, if you are throwing a casual party for your friends, just play the music of your choice. The benefit of playing your music on your device is that everyone else can pitch in and play the song they want.

7. Activities

What do you have in mind for your guest when it comes to activities? If it is a formal dinner, than conversing and sipping wine is probably all you need to have a pleasant evening.

However, if it is informal, then you can come up with something fun, something. Simple activities dancing or playing Pictionary, can bring things to another level. Again, it all depends on the type of guests that are arriving at your home.

garden activities

8. Enjoy Yourself!

If you do not enjoy the party, then others will not enjoy it. All that planning can tire you so much that you forget to relax and enjoy yourself. If you have problems with planning your party, you can always ask your friends and family to pitch in.

Someone might bring a bottle of sweet wine, while others might bring a dessert with them. The whole purpose of organizing the event is that everyone enjoys it, and that includes you.

Abby DrexlerAbby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist for Jackson’s Home & Garden. She regularly produces content for a variety of lifestyle and home blogs.

Gardening, Greenhouses, Grow Your Own, Planting, Ross

spring greenhouse

Greenhouses have always been a popular form of gardening. A garden is nice and all, but a greenhouse offers you a small, secluded environment that poses a whole new roster of challenges, even for the seasoned gardener.

For those who are just starting out, though, greenhouses can be something of an unknown entity. What do you grow in them? Why not just keep whatever you DO grow in them outside in the garden? Is it going to be worth all the effort? Well, fret no more, because we’re here to help.

Greenhouses can be used to cultivate any number of flora, but they are at their most potent in the growth of fruits and vegetables. With all that in mind, then, here are just a smattering of the plants that will benefit the most from life inside your greenhouse.

Tomatoes

They’re practically a greenhouse staple, and with good reason. Tomatoes thrive in warm, humid environments, which is exactly what they’ll get in a structure made entirely out of glass. Tomato plants and greenhouses go together like bread and butter, and they’re a great place to start if you’re new to greenhouses. Keep in mind, though, that while tomatoes do indeed prefer the warmer conditions of life inside a greenhouse, they do need watering regularly to keep the balance. Most garden hose heads will come with a “mist” function, which is the perfect way to moderate the temperature of your tomatoes and keep them growing strong.

Strawberries

Who doesn’t love a good strawberry? A lot of British gardeners end up giving strawberry growth a crack simply because of their reputation as the quintessential garden fruit. Greenhouses are, just as they were for tomatoes, an excellent place to try your hand at strawberry growth. Strawberries are a shallow-rooting plant, which means they’ll be most comfortable in weed-free environments where they don’t need to worry about competing for space. You’ll need to keep on top of the watering, as ever, but your reward will be a bounty of Wimbledon’s favourite fruits.

strawberry plant

Chillies & Peppers

I suppose it stands to reason that chillies and peppers are both heat-loving plants, given how often we burn the lids of our mouths on them. Both fruits can be a bit of a long job, so if you’re planning on trying your hand with them this year, you might want to think about getting your stuff together early. Ultimately though, given their love of heat, growing them outside amongst the notoriously capricious British weather is a far less reliable tactic than within the confines of a greenhouse.

Amazon Lilies

Amazon Lilies certainly won’t be for everyone, since they require a consistent temperature in the range of 70 degrees to keep them alive. They do also require a lot of sunlight, which is always difficult to guarantee even at the apex of a British summer, but if you can give them what they need, the Amazon Lily will repay you in kind. They can reach up to 60cm in height and can help maintain a sweet scent in your little glass house.

amazon lily

Roses

Another greenhouse staple, the rose is a world-renowned flower blessed with connotations of love, life and prosperity. Given their wide array of colours, it quickly becomes obvious why so many greenhouse gardeners decide to add them to their collections. Roses have something of a reputation of being delicate little things, constantly in need of protection and cultivation when left in the open elements. The safety of a greenhouse removes some of those irksome fragilities, and allows you the platform to more carefully monitor their progress.

Orchids

You may or may not have heard someone described as a “hothouse orchid” – I remember it from an episode of Frasier, myself. Anyway, the phrase describes someone who requires pampering or coddling to live happily. It’s no surprise, then, that orchids themselves require many provisions if they are to grow. Humidity is a key part of orchid growth, since the most common orchids were originally imported from the tropics. Naturally then, a greenhouse environment presents the perfect platform to get your orchids cosy, warm and above all else, blooming.

orchids

Of course, there’s an entire roster of greenhouse-friendly options available to you. Oranges, lemons, cucumbers, geraniums, salvia, chrysanthemums; the list goes on. The main thing, however, is getting started. If you’ve never owned a greenhouse before, or maybe your greenhouse is looking a little sorry this spring, it’s never too late to try again.

Ross at PrimroseRoss works in the Product Loading department and gets to see all the weird and wonderful products that pass through Primrose. Ross is a life-long Southampton fan and favours jazz music, reading and a quiet place to enjoy them.

See all of Ross’s posts.

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